Living Room Makeover - German Schmear Faux Brick Wall

A few days ago I shared the beginning of my living room makeover with the faux brick wall I created in my living/dining room and today I'm back to show you the finished wall!

I wanted to create a focal wall that had the appearance of old, weathered brick. I also wanted something lighter and brighter than the dark grey wall that was there before. My living room is north facing and a little dark feeling for my taste.

In an effort to lighten up the room and create an exciting focal point I recreated the feel of old brick with the German schmear technique (also sometimes called a mortar wash).

How to do a German schmear faux brick wall

This took about 5 hours to complete but it's a very long wall so it would take even less time if you want to recreate this look on a smaller accent wall.

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To start this process you'll load up your grout float with a good amount of joint compound (drywall compound and joint compound are the same thing so it's just whatever your hardware store calls it).

I recommend a rubber grout float for this project instead of a hard metal trowel to save your brick from getting scratched up.

drywall joint compound for German schmear technique

Once you have your float loaded with the compound start at the seams and smear it all over the bricks paying special attention to the seams.

covering brick paneling seams for German schmear technique

Smear it on with the grout float and then scrape some of it back off leaving it in the grout lines and heavier in some places, lighter in others. You'll get a technique down quickly but I have a little video of my process to share in this post as well.

How to German Schmear a wall

Once you have gotten one panel done it should have started to harden a little bit. Once it starts to harden a little you'll start scraping some back off and cleaning out the grout lines with a plastic putty knife.

German schmear technique on a faux brick wall

I also used a tiling sponge to clean off some of the bricks and bring out the red again.

Faux brick wall with German schmear

Have a bucket or large pan of water close by and get the sponge wet, wring it out and then wipe off some of the bricks.

tiling sponge for German schmear

Here is a little video of my process.

You can still see the seams a little bit but I think part of the reason they are so visible to me is that I know exactly where they are. Also, having things up against the wall and some artwork will distract the eye away from them.

German schmear technique on an interior wall

Once I had the whole wall covered to my liking I went over it with fine sandpaper to knock off any chunks and then I went over the whole wall with the damp sponge to remove any dust.

how to German schmear a wall

Here is a shot of the wall before...

Living room wall before German schmear

And after...

Living room wall after German schmear

And here is a shot into the dining room before...

Dining room wall before German schmear

Dining room wall after German schmear

Interior brick wall with German schmear

I decided to paint my interior garage door and a little accent wall while I was at it! Here is the garage door before...

Interior garage wall before

And here is that same door painted a pretty navy blue called "Naval" by HGTV Home!

Navy interior garage door

This is the sliding glass door wall before...

Sliding glass door wall before

And after in that same navy color with crisp white trim in "Arctic Cotton"!

Navy sliding glass door wall

German schmear technique

Here is the living room wall before...

Living room wall before

After the faux brick was installed...

Living room wall after the brick was installed

And after the German schmear technique...

German schmear faux brick wall how to

Naval blue accent wall

What do you think?

If you missed any of the progress so far you can catch up here:

Next up in the living room makeover is painting the rest of the walls. I chose a warm, creamy white called "Downy", also from HGTV Home.